Wales politics

Vote 2012: Welsh Labour says 'send Cameron a message'

Voters should use next month's local elections as a referendum on the UK Government's budget, Welsh Labour has said.

With a little over a fortnight until polling day, Labour said that 3 May was an opportunity to send David Cameron and Nick Clegg a message.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said his party was "on the way up".

He promised a "new style" of campaign when Labour launched what it called a "get out the vote" operation.

Activists and candidates gave a series of short speeches at an event in Newport on Tuesday.

Labour is not publishing a national manifesto, saying it will not offer voters "blanket promises".

The party will hope for an improvement on the last local elections in 2008, held against a backdrop of the 10p tax row.

Labour suffered a dire night when Wales' 1,200 council seats were last contested. Its share of the vote dropped and it lost control of councils in stronghold areas.

But it remains by far the biggest party in Welsh local government and is fielding more candidates than its rivals next month.

Shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain, who is chairing Labour's campaign, said the party was approaching the election "in good heart".

There was a "clear message" from the doorstep that people "feel angry and betrayed by the reckless cuts to services and family incomes imposed by the UK government".

He attacked tax changes unveiled in the Budget last month.

Mr Hain urged voters to "make 3 May a referendum on this unfair and disastrous budget".

'Priorities'

Welsh Labour leader Mr Jones said Labour's was a "very different campaign" that was "run and owned by Labour teams around Wales".

There would be no national manifesto "because our campaign won't be national - it's local," he said.

Image caption Mr Hain said voters felt angry and betrayed by government cuts

"This campaign is about the priorities of local people, set by local people.

"The elections on 3 May are vital for Welsh Labour, but they are vital for Wales."

He added: "A vote for any other party than Labour will dilute that bastion of defiance we have set against the Tory/Lib Dem agenda.

"We are on the way up because we have reconnected with the people, with our people, the people of Wales.

"But we are not complacent. We know the value of making the hard yards in a political campaign. This campaign will reaffirm our aspiration as the grass roots organisation that delivers for Welsh people."

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